Sorrento ItalyI can’t believe a year has passed since we went to Sorrento and I still haven’t got around to writing about it. That just goes to prove how hard it is juggling a blog and a full-time job… oh and an extended family, a house, a home and all of the other bits and pieces that go in to make the normal run-of-the-mill life. There is never enough time in the day!

We visited last year, just Paul and I, to attend our friend’s wedding. Trust me, Sorrento makes a wonderfully romantic venue for tieing the knot.

Although I lived in Italy for almost 20 years, I never got to see Sorrento and the surrounding area. I had heard of its beauty many times and knew it was extremely popular the world over. Sorrento was firmly on my bucket list and our wedding invitation was the perfect occasion to tick it off.

Cloisters Sorrento

The Cloisters in Sorrento is the perfect wedding venue.

As the wedding was to be held on the Saturday, we decided to ask the grandparents to look after the girls for a few days and make a short break out of it, after all, what’s the point of going all that way to turn around and come straight back? I couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing the places I had heard so much about.

lemon tree sorrento

When anyone speaks of Sorrento in Italy, you hear descriptive words like lemons, music, stunning views and romance – in Italian obviously but I’ll save you that for now. I had conjured up a meraviglioso picture in my mind and I was curious to see how close my thoughts were to reality.

Getting to Sorrento

Getting to Sorrento is fun. We booked flights into Naples – another notorious city I want to return to one day. Then from the city you have a few options – hire a car and drive along the coast, jump on a coach or bus, get a taxi or take the ferry and sail around the coast to the harbour of Sorrento. Guess which option we went for?

The ferry!

Naples to Sorrento ferry

In order to do this, you have to catch a bus from the airport to Naples harbour. It’s not difficult and there are plenty of instructions online in places like TripAdvisor. It’s cheap and easy and on arrival, there are plenty of places where you can buy your ticket. All of them speak English and will be able to direct you to the right dock.

There are various ferries and we caught the one above. It meant we had to sit inside and couldn’t see much out of the windows that were covered in sea salt but there was a great Italian waiter who was selling drinks and snacks, so we bought a couple of beers to get into the holiday mood.

Cheers to being a couple for a few days and cin cin to Italia!

The ferry doesn’t take long and our friends due to marry were waiting in the harbour for us, they had been there a couple of days already, as stated by Italian law when you get married in the country.

Sorrento harbour Italy

Wheeling the suitcase into town – luckily there’s a lift in the cliff!

We stopped for drinks with them and then made our way via a lift in the cliff up to the town and on to our hotel with plans to meet later for dinner.

Hotels in Sorrento

We did what everyone does – pump ‘Hotels in Sorrento’ into the search box and click go. Up came the normal sites and after a few days of research, we decided on Hotel Europa. It was walking distance from the centre, situated on the coast and had some great reviews.

Hotel Europa Palace Sorrento

We weren’t disappointed – apart from the noise from the road, the Sorrentini do love to hit their hooters! The hotel had a charm of years-gone-by. I could imagine being here in the 20’s and being part of the ‘in crowd’. Our bedroom was comfortable and there were some lovely facilities, like the swimming pool and beach.

Hotel Europa Sorrento

Places to eat in Sorrento

We had booked bed and breakfast as we knew we’d be out and about during the days and eating with our friends in the evenings. We needn’t have worried as Sorrento is a town full of restaurants, pizzerias, bars and various eateries to suit all pockets. The streets are lined with choice – fish, pasta, pizza, meat, you name it, you can find it and freshly cooked too with wonderful waiting service. Prices are reasonable plus, if you’re lucky, there is a glass of limoncello offered by the house with the bill. Salute!

eating in Sorrento

Shopping in Sorrento

If like me, you like to buy things to take home that remind you of your time spent in a place, you won’t be disappointed. Sorrento has streets and alleys lined with shops selling everything you’d imagine to buy; leather, limoncello, ceramics, oil paintings and much more. I adored the handmade leather sandals, typical to the area but couldn’t verify spending €100 on a pair no matter how beautiful they were. Reluctantly leaving the overpriced sandals to one side, I filled our suitcase with limoncello, an oil painting, a leather purse, a beautiful scarf and plenty more bits and pieces.

You will love the shopping!

shopping in sorrento

Things to do in Sorrento

There are plenty of romantic things to do in Sorrento – getting married has to be the best by far! But we also enjoyed beautiful walks along the stunning coastline, through the town and stopping on the clifftops to watch the sunset is a must. There’s a wide terrace where people congregate to watch the sun descend over the sea, luckily there is a bar there too, so order an Aperol spritz and enjoy the moment.

sunset in Sorrento

sunset in sorrento

Fun things to do in Sorrento

Sorrento is beautifully positioned as the perfect base for exploring the area and on our 4-night break we managed to fit in Vesuvio, Pompei and the Island of Capri which I shall be writing about separately as they were so impressive.

Enjoy some of my favourite photos that I took in Sorrento.

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short break sorrento

Emma from A Scandinavian Sojourn has also stepped in to help me out and keep you all well read whilst I am away and having seen my growing collection of posts Holidays in Italy decided to tell you about her stay in the Bel Paese which is funny and also highlights two wonderful destinations San Sepolcro and Alberobello in Puglia. Here is

Italy For Amateurs

Mari’s invitation to write a guest post for her blog Mari’s World (whilst she is off enjoying a well deserved holiday), prompted me to think about holiday’s we have been on in the past, and those that have been the most memorable to us as a family. Given her Italian links, Mari might be pleased to hear that some of our best trips so far have been to beautiful Italy.

Our first visit was to Sansepolcro, on the very edge of Tuscany, where we stayed high up in the hilltops in a small stone cottage. We had nothing but the geraniums we had been asked to water, and the tiny scorpions that lived in the window frames(they were totally harmless!) to keep us company, and it was perfect! Our daughter was around 18 months old at the time, and I was around 5 months pregnant with our son, and still suffering from terrible morning sickness. We were there in September when it was cool and calm, but the weather was still good. During the day we would explore little towns, searching out great local restaurants for lunch, and scouring the markets for seasonal food to cook in the evenings. A few days in, and my morning sickness suddenly disappeared – it was such a relief, and as an added bonus I suddenly developed an urge to eat my own bodyweight in gelato.

One morning we awoke at the crack of dawn to a large group of traditionally dressed huntsmen gathering outside the cottage, we watched over breakfast as they returned triumphantly carrying a huge boar. This rural idyll proved to be just the break we needed from hectic London, and our love affair with Italy began.

Fast forward a couple of years and we returned, this time to Puglia in the middle of June. Our choice of accommodation was quite unusual in that we chose to stay in a Trullo. This was really interesting, if not a little basic, but nothing we couldn’t cope with! The children bathed in washing up bowls, and the kitchen was a true test of our cooking skills, but it was fun! The metre thick walls also kept us cool during the day, and felt extremely cosy when thunderstorms approached! Once more we had the peace and tranquillity we craved for a couple of weeks, and again our mornings exploring and seeking out the shade in the afternoon.

We gorged ourselves on local produce, from beautifully fresh seafood and pasta to the most amazing tomatoes, and mounds and mounds of black cherries and strawberries. We devoured salads made from squat round cucumbers (an accidental purchase as I had mistaken them for melons!), I often crave these from time to time now, and I am kicking myself for not picking up any seeds from the markets! We made a great discovery one afternoon at a butcher’s in town, where they would cook your purchase for you at your chosen time. It saved us attempting to cook it in our primitive kitchen and on washing up!

I will always remember enjoying one of the best coffees I have ever tasted at a lovely café one morning. On arrival, I took stock of the place, slightly worried about the fact that it looked like it was THE place to be seen, and the staff had possibly been selected on looks alone. I had taken my (then three year old) daughter straight to the toilet, and left my husband to order the coffee. Job done, we walked back through the packed café, and I began to feel quite self-conscious as all eyes were completely on me. I told myself that it was because they maybe didn’t get many English tourists, and sat down to enjoy my coffee. Around ten minutes later, someone opened a fridge door, and as the door swung around, the reflection that greeted me was utterly mortifying. I looked like more of an idiot than usual, with my three year old daughter’s sun-hat perched like a pea on a drum on top of my head (where I had placed it whilst trying to sort the three year old out in loo, and had then promptly forgotten about it!). A sophisticated Italian I was very obviously not. I can’t quite believe that my family members hadn’t actually thought to let me know, and had let me sit there for ages oblivious, but then they had to endure me not being able to move for laughing for around half an hour. The beautiful staff, all stood around looking faintly bemused at this oddly dressed English girl, who now appeared to be having some kind of fit. Needless to say, I couldn’t bear to go back there again, which was a shame as the coffee was outstanding!

Since our Scandinavian adventure began, we haven’t had the chance to go back to Italy, and I feel like we have neglected one of our favourite countries. However, before we start our next adventure, I am determined to try and fit in a visit, even if it’s just for a weekend – it’s been far far too long!

Ciao!

Now head on over to A Scandinavian Sojourn and see what other delights she has to share